National Teaching Award Nominee
Arrowhead High School, Hartland, Wisconsin
Student Nomination Story
I remember the first time I walked into Mrs.Cull’s credit recovery classroom my sophomore year at Arrowhead High School. She had a smile on her face and was excited to meet me. I heard good things about her from my family. I didn’t want to be there, but I knew I had to. She was kind right off the bat. She knew my older brother Sam because he was in the same situation as me. Throughout sophomore year, I realized she wanted me to succeed and do well in school and outside of school. She would check up on her students to make sure they were doing alright and make sure they were on top of their school work. I was used to teachers asking if I did the homework. I wasn’t used to a teacher checking up on my life outside of school as much as she did. When she did it, I felt uncomfortable at first, but as it got to an everyday thing, I started to look forward to her asking the question, “what's new?” When she would check up on me, she would actually listen and ask questions to make the conversation expand, instead of just saying “oh, good for you,” or “I hope you feel better.” She would try to find a solution for problems right there and then. At the end of sophomore year I was nervous to see my final grades. I didn’t want to let Mrs. Cull down. But when the time came I had to check them, and I ended up passing. I was so proud, but more importantly I made my mom, dad, and Mrs. Cull proud. That feeling made me turn my attitude towards school flip. Junior year I felt like a different person. I had motivation to get up and go to school. I wanted to do my homework so my parents saw I didn’t have missing assignments. I was still in Mrs. Cull’s credit recovery class, but I had more motivation to get my credits back. When the first semester ended, everybody saw I had a change in attitude. They were proud of me again. It made me feel great, I knew if I could just keep it I wouldn’t have to think that I have to make them proud anymore. Then Sam found out how well I was doing in school. He was insanely happy for me; he was proud of me. But the feeling of him being proud of me, felt different. I looked up to him. He was the cool brother everybody knows and likes. And to hear him say he was proud of me made me feel like we were beginning to be friends. When we talked about me doing well in school he got emotional because he was glad I didn’t have to graduate by going to the challenge academy like him. That was the first time I have ever seen Sam shed a tear out of happiness for me. Now I am in my senior year on track to graduate. I just want you to know, Mrs. Cull, that none of what I have done to get where I am right now, would have been possible without you and your attitude. Now I hope you can do the same for Ben. I feel like I haven’t said thank you enough, so thank you so much for helping get my life on track. Thank you for all of the help you have given me. And thank you for always being understanding and reliable.
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